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ArlingtonArlington jobless rate dips to 3% in new data

Arlington jobless rate dips to 3% in new data

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Arlington’s jobless rate in August dropped to 3 percent, according to new data, as the county and region continue to wriggle free of the economic grip of COVID.

But with government subsidies being phased out and the prospect of more spikes in infections and a return to economic shutdowns as colder weather approaches, whether the incremental but steady improvements can be maintained remains an open question.

The August data, reported Sept. 29 by the Virginia Employment Commission, showed 145,095 Arlington residents employed in the civilian workforce and 4,549 looking for jobs. The resulting 3-percent rate was down from 3.4 percent in July, and a healthy drop from the 5.2-percent rate recorded in August 2020, when the first incarnation of the pandemic was raging.

(The lower jobless rate is the good news. The not-so-good news is that there were fewer Arlington residents with jobs in the civilian workforce in August than in July. Because the number looking for work also was down, the jobless rate recorded a decline.)

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Arlington’s lower unemployment rate was mirrored across the region, where rates from July to August fell from 2.9 percent to 2.7 percent in Falls Church; from 3.2 percent to 3 percent in Loudoun County; from 3.7 percent to 3.4 percent in Fairfax County; from 4.2 percent to 3.8 percent in Alexandria; and from 4.1 percent to 3.8 percent in Prince William County.

Across Northern Virginia as a whole, the jobless rate of 3.4 percent was down from 3.7 percent a month before and well below the rate of 6.5 percent in August 2020. The most recent figures represented 1,563,327 in the civilian workforce and 55,466 looking for jobs.

Statewide, the non-seasonally-adjusted jobless rate of 3.8 percent was down from 4.1 percent a month before, remaining well below the national rate of 5.3 percent.

Among Virginia’s 133 cities and counties, the lowest jobless rates for August were turned in by Highland and Madison counties (2.4 percent each), King George County (2.6 percent), and Frederick County and the cities of Poquoson and Falls Church (2.7 percent each). The highest rates were found in Petersburg (9.6 percent) and the cities of Martinsville, Hopewell and Emporia (7.2 percent each).

A total of 113 of the 133 jurisdictions recorded jobless rates of less than 5 percent.

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